Ever since Newt Gingrich's revolutionaries took control of Congress in 1994, the face of the Republican party has been one of shameless partisanship and cronyism. As time has gone by, their agenda has been less and less about any kind of values or philosophy and more and more about rewarding their supporters, punishing their opponents, and staying in power. The main difference that the Bush people brought is that they are more open about it, more willing to actually break laws and subvert the constitution, and they have had the convenient cudgel of the war on terrorism to use in silencing critics.
This is hardly a new revelation or an original thought of mine. Hundreds of bloggers write about this every day, a few brave reporters and pundits dare say what's really going on, and one or two office-holding Democrats occasionally make a timid reference to it. When we do we are loudly denounced as far left, conspiracy mongers, pathological Bush haters, elites (which shouldn't be a derogatory term), and traitors.
When caught at their game, the Republican standard defense is that things have always been this way and that the Democrats are just as bad. The professional new media supports this ahistorical lie with their "fair and balanced" and "he said, she said" method of reporting. While the Democrats have produced plenty of their own crooks and fools over the years, the truth is that ours are rank amateurs compared to the current crop of Republicans. This level of patronage and fire-sale looting of the government to enrich supporters hasn't existed at the federal level since the Civil Service reforms of the 1880s.
The Washington pundit caste and the general American public are living in a dangerous state of denial when they embrace the "it's always been this way" apologetics. Most people believe that the American Republic is far more resilient that it really is. They believe that the republic will last forever and that some law of nature guarantees that the pendulum will swing the other direction before any group extremists can do permanent damage to out institutions. Nothing lasts forever and the most likely way the American Republic will end is not through a massive frontal assault by foreign enemies. It will die of neglect. America is not a set of lines on the map or a group of people; it is a set of institutions and values firmly rooted in the Enlightenment. As we allow our leaders to dismantle and undermine those institutions and values, we destroy America. When those institutions and values and values are gone, it won't matter is a piece of territory called the United States remains, America will be gone.
If your friends, relatives, and coworkers, need evidence that "they" really will "do that" and aren't convinced by wiretapping and presidential signing statements, then show them the latest example of fire-sale corruption.
"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," [HUD Secretary] Jackson said of the prospective contractor. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, 'I have a problem with your president.'
"I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don’t like President Bush.' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary.'
"He didn’t get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe."
The kind of political test that Jackson is admitting to administering is completely illegal. So far, only two congressmen and a handful of far-left, conspiracy mongering, America-hating, elitist bloggers have complained.